Bartosz Kapustka 19 Midfielder Leicester City Poland
Really gifted midfielder used on the left by Poland and capable as the wide man of a three or as a more traditional winger. The hype was growing around Kapustka due to the headlines he’d managed to create (more on that later) but he delivered at the Euros and that transfer to a better-paying league was inevitable. Leicester fought off several clubs (Serie A particularly well represented in the gossip columns) to sign him but unfortunately it’s not gone very well since.
2016 has been…
…a huge high, then a big low.
We were excited in the summer. Lots of people had been talking this young man up last year and we had been getting that fizz, but then came the performance against Northern Ireland in the Euros that blew us away and our expectations rose. The move was inevitable and Leicester seemed like a good fit to us - they need surprises to avoid second season syndrome and he got a chance at a club that despite being Premier League champions wouldn’t feel like too big a leap.
Then it all went a bit wrong.
After featuring in a couple of match day squads he was then absent all together right up to the time of writing. The player has been forced to state in the media he’s happy - a sure sign a player’s not happy - and his manger has recently had to defend the transfer but admitted Kapustka “isn’t ready for the Premier League” and pointed to a lack of physicality and understanding that “every ball is a battle”. All a bit disappointing in truth, we suddenly feel a bit flat.
More. More effort, more faith, more chances in the first team - we just want more of everything. This young man has the ability to be a bit different, he’s a genuine game changer, but he needs to find his feet, find some consistency and then grow into being a Premier League footballer. He’s 19, we forgive a slight hiccup at this stage, but he needs to get back on track quickly.
There is a side to Kapustka that worries us; this is the young man who had to plead for his place in Poland’s squad for the Euros after fighting in a nightclub and injuring himself in the process. All this time and frustration needs to be managed well and the recent criticism of his transfer by some questioning whether Leicester had watched anything other than the Euros won’t help. We hope he’s staying calm and focusing, we hope he’s being given the training he needs to get to where his club want him.
So a full international who can’t get into his club side. We hope he’s not getting too wound up by that, we hope he’s willing to be one of Ranieri’s slightly more defensive wingers, and we hope he’s putting the muscle on Leicester feel he lacks. We would like to see him play before the end of the season, and if he still finds himself nowhere near that first team in the summer maybe it’s time to take a loan or even leave altogether if he feels the club have stopped believing in him.
C The excitement of the start of the year wiped out by the disappointment of the end, something needs to change
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